Sunday, July 31, 2011

Syrian tanks storm Hama

Scores killed and wounded as Bashar al-Assad's troops launch assault on opposition stronghold ahead of Ramadan

Staff and agencies, Sunday 31 July 2011

"Syrian troops in tanks have stormed the flashpoint city of Hama, killing and wounding scores of people in a barrage of shelling and gunfire that left bodies scattered in the streets.

Residents shouted "God is great!" and threw firebombs and stones at the tanks as they pushed through the city before dawn on Sunday.

"It's a massacre [in 1982 the father of the present butcher slaughtered over 20,000 in Hama; mini butcher trying to keep up with his daddy?], they want to break Hama before the month of Ramadan," an eyewitness who identified himself by his first name, Ahmed, told the Associated Press by telephone.

Hospitals were overwhelmed with casualties and were seeking blood donations, he said.

Activists have predicted that demonstrations will escalate during Ramadan, which starts on Monday, as protesters and government forces try to use the Muslim holy month to tip the balance of the uprising that began in March in their favour.

Ahmed, a Hama resident, said he saw up to 12 people shot dead in the streets in a district known as the Baath neighbourhood. Most had been shot in the chest and head, he said....."

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